[Topic suggested by Ian, Pumps100, thanks.]
The Great Storm of 1968 was central Scotland's worst natural disaster since records began, with nine people in Glasgow alone dying while across the west of the country the figure rose to 20 when winds of over 100mph slammed into the west of Scotland damaging 250,000 houses, leaving more than 2,000 people homeless.
The Great Glasgow Storm: January 15 1968
Throughout the night and into the early hours of the following morning, Glasgow was battered by hurricane force winds. The storm accounted for the lives of twenty people across central Scotland.
Nine people died in Glasgow, including that of a Port Street resident, who was killed when masonry from a chimneybreast fell through the roof of a tenement. Those who managed to sleep through the storm awoke the following morning to find the atmosphere still heavy with thick grey dust and the streets littered with debris that had been ripped from buildings. So great was the scale of devastation that soldiers from the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders were called to help clear the streets of rubble. The storm left many tenement properties uninhabitable and for many months tarpaulins covered gaping holes in the rooftops. It appeared as though nature was intent on having a hand in hastening the demise of some of Anderston’s old tenement buildings.
Technical comment from a member of a weather forum:
It is well worth pointing out that the Glasgow Storm of 16th January 1968 was allegedly accompanied by tornadoes, these apparently generated by airflow around the hills to the west of Glasgow. There were four distinct lines of severe damage made across the city that night, and there were reports of short lived spells of 'incredible violence and noise' during the height of this gale. Straight line winds exceeded 90kt within the Firth of Clyde.http://www.sunnygovan.com/PLACES/Gal5/GreatStormOf1968.htmlDo you remember the storm? Were you affected by it?
Just found a speech made by The Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. William Ross) made on 04 April 1968 about the medium-term efforts to repair the damage:
... Despite these difficult conditions, a great deal has been achieved. All the damaged local authority houses, numbering nearly 200,000—over 70,000 of them 620 in Glasgow—were made wind and watertight at an early stage, and over 63,000 of them have now been permanently repaired. Repairs to houses owned by the Scottish Special Housing Association and the four new town corporations are proceeding satisfactorily.
Many owners whose houses are covered by comprehensive insurance are dealing with their own repairs. However, I informed the House on 25th January that I was arranging for local authorities to organise the repair of private houses where this was necessary to avoid delay. These arrangements rested on the provision of capital by the Government, the commissioning and payment of work by the local authorities, and the acceptance by owners of ultimate responsibility for the cost. The most intractable problem has been the repair of tenements in multiple ownership, many of which are inadequately insured.
Outside Glasgow, local councils have made themselves responsible for organising permanent repairs to the roofs of over 14,000 houses. Work on over 2,500 of these has been completed, and the councils assure me that all the roofs will be permanently repaired before the end of the summer.
In Glasgow, the storm damaged the roofs of some 10,000 privately-owned tenements: 5,000 of these were seriously damaged. This meant that some 80,000 households were, or could be, affected. Permanent repairs to these houses were proceeding fairly well until the weekend of 16th-17th March, when another bad storm struck the City, and the temporary patching suffered severely. A labour force of some 700 men, drawn from the Corporation's direct labour force, the Scottish Special Housing Association, and the private contractors' labour force, was set to work. ...
1st Feb 2009, 11:17pm
I was in Canada in 1968 but my parents were still in Scotland. They lived in East Fulton just outside Johnston. They told me it sounded like a train coming across the fields both by sound and the wind hitting the house. Next day's inspection revealed that all fencing had been ripped from the ground and the greenhouse was flattened and still some pieces never found. Scotland has experienced very high winds since then but I wonder if it has ever reached the same velocity.
2nd Feb 2009, 07:22am
Oh my , yes I remember that night , the wind howled all night long and it toppled buses , trees , chimneys , houses and wreaked all manner of havok.My Mum insisted walking us to school the next day to make sure we were safe , it had died down considerably by then though , but we didnt take the usual route up past the Lynn Park , we had to go up through the houses.There was debris lying all over the place , roof tiles ,gates , fences , t.v ariels , ours included.It was a bit of an adventure to us , but then again it would be to a 9 year old.Luckily the t.v ariel was the extent of our damage
2nd Feb 2009, 12:27pm
I remember the hurricane very well, it was terrifying, my children and I sat huddled together, I had got them up and dressed, I was afraid the roof would come in, all the chimneys crashed to the street ,slates etc. I thought the winds were 150mph.
Never have experienced anything like it since and hopefully never again.
Glasgow was severely damaged, never the same again., pavements in particular still all uneven.
My son can only remember having to get out his bed, he was 5 at that time. My daughter must remember, she was 13. Must ask her next time we speak.
21st Mar 2009, 01:36pm
Aye, remember yon night petty well. Wus a wee bit of a blaw, kept me an a few other kids in Castlemilk Hoose awake, but we got huckled back intae oor beds, tell tae shut up go to sleep, as if wi all that rammy going on.
It was next day and for months after that you could see the after effects.
Roofs blown aff, chimneys, walls, advertising hordings, trees blawn doon. Slates all over the shop too.
The thing thats stands out most for me was that Glasgow's roofscape was transformed into a sea of flapping green tarpaulins. These wur used patch up awe the holes.
Some of the buildings never survived to be repaired, many wur jist knocked doon as part of *redevelopment*
21st Mar 2009, 03:06pm
a remember it well a was in my ma and das bed terrified and a remember the 1987 in the south a gathered up my boys and brought them into my bed and a said well if wan goes we will all go a never seen so much devistation in these 2 hurricanes michael fish still denied it to this day the plonka a have never seen so many felled trees all the young boys helped saw the old lady at the end of my row as she was stuck as 2 trees fell one at the front door and one at the back what a nightmare and it can still be seen in the parks where trees were uprooted the world is changing big time
21st Mar 2009, 03:27pm
We lived directly across from the Art Gallaries which at the time had some futuristic and very tall street lighting in front of it. The upper casings were lifted off in the gales and flew up and down Argyle and Sauchiehall like flying saucers.
I'm sure the Evening Times carried a photie of one in mid-air the next day. The walk to school in the morning reminded my mother of the blitz and there are many active posters on here who moved to the leafy suburbs as a direct consequence.
21st Mar 2009, 08:07pm
One of my girlfriends had just moved into the high rise flats at Cranhill. Her mother refused to go back after that night. All their dishes were all over the floor. The corporation gave them another house.
28th Mar 2009, 12:41pm
slept through it, never heard a thing. snoooooze
30th Mar 2009, 09:13am
Idiotic me drove through the early stges of this storm! I had moved straight from school in 1964 to a job in Whitley Bay and used to drive home at least two weekends every month (I remember petrol at 4/11d per gallon then it shot up and 4 gallons cost just over a £ - Wow!).
I left Whitley about 6pm, drove over to Gretna, stopped for my usual 30 minutes then drove up the old A74. Turned off through Strathaven and East Kilbride as usual, then I "hit" it; debris in the road; debris in the air. I had no choice other than to battle on in my fairly old, 5th hand Singer Gazelle. For miles, I was the only car on the road.
After what seemed a lifetime I reached Paisley where my parents lived on the 4th floor facing East End Park. I'm sure the whole row of solid 4 storey tenements were swaying in the wind. In the morning, of course, the streets were littered with slates and somehow my blue and white pride and joy didn't have a mark on it.
30th Mar 2009, 09:50am
I was 19 at the time and I slept through the whole storm. I remember waking up in the morning, looking out our back window to see that the whole 50ft length of our 6ft high wooden garden fence had disappeared and the concrete posts were broken in two. We were the end house next to an open field so it took the full blast. Tenements in Partick were badly damaged when chinmey stacks fell through them and if I remember right, people sadly died. The company my husband (then boyfriend) worked for was kept busy for the best part of that year carrying our repairs to properties.
I also slept through the 1987 storm in Surrey. We lived in a cul-dec-sac at the time and I woke up very early in the mnorning to the sound of hand-saws outside. Trees had fallen across the road and no-one could get in or out of the street. A couple of residents were doing their best with hand saws. My husband got down there with his chain saw, more residents arrived to help and as my husband sawed through the trees people were moving them. The road was clear in no time.
I sleep very light now as I've got older so I hope I never have to witness storm no. 3!
2nd Apr 2009, 09:06pm
Il ne pluit pas, Avril?
By strange happenstance I drove through 7oaks in '87, certain symmetry
11th Jun 2009, 01:31am
I too slept through the 1968 storm. My Mammy woke me up at one point terrified and I just said " Aye Mammy it'll be all right... it's only windy" and turned over and went back to sleep!!! When I got up for work in the morning and saw the devastation I felt awful for not comforting her!!! Wish I could sleep like that nowadays.
11th Jun 2009, 01:46am
I remember the aftermath of the storm more than the storm itself. I was only 7 years old at the time but I seem to remember broken slates everywhere with chimney pots and aeriels and even wooden garden fencing and corrugated iron lying around everywhere, and that was just in Drumbottie Road where I lived! I also remember that at least one of the high rise flats at Edgefauld Road in Springburn was tottering like the leaning tower of Pisa afterwards.
The place looked like an atomic bomb had hit us.
11th Jun 2009, 10:38am
I was about 9 years old and living on Scotland St, and slept through the storm, but I remember the aftermath clearly, there was rubble from chimneys all over the street, broken glass, bricks and worst of all slates from the roofs, just about every car we saw had a slate embedded in it!
When we were travelling through Argyllshire about a week later, we saw huge swathes of forest flattened, mile after mile of fir trees lying on their sides like they'd been steamrolled.
One corner of the block I lived had to be demolished, I think that was due to the storm damage.
21st Aug 2009, 02:47pm
I was 10 at the time. I stayed in Kirkintilloch at the time. We had miles of farmland between us and Glesga and the wind howled across unhindered. I was uterly terrified to say the least, I was sure our roof was going to be ripped off. many houses in our estate had their gable ends blown down, I can remember almost every large tree I knew being blown over, every lampost on the Lenzie Road being blown over, the 'old mans' shelter in the Woodhead park lying wrecked against the front of the swimming baths 200 yards away. The large parts roof of the swimming baths lying on the railway line behind it, reports of a copper being blown through the Co-op window at Townhead and being sent home from school the next day as parts of the roof were lying on the playground. Some folk have made comparisons with the Michael Fishs' 1987 storm in S E England where most of the damage was caused by falling trees. What you must remember is that all those trees had leaves on them, the Glasgow storm happened when the trees were bare - it makes a heck of a difference if you've ever watched trees in gale force winds. I can remember reading a report in the Daily Record saying there had been a gust of wind recorded at the Forth Bridge of 124mph, I for one would never dispute that. It was one heck of a storm. Can anyone confirm serious thunder and lightning? Something tells me there was. I've had a real healthy interest and respect for the weather ever since.
31st Aug 2009, 05:19pm
I was only 8 yrs old came from Greenock and was in Oak Bank Hopital on the night of the storm i can remember the old tenaments next to the Hospital all the roofs caved in i'll always remember that night
18th Sep 2009, 01:55pm
The death of folk singer Mary Travers has just been announced and my recollection of the Great Glasgow Storm was whether or not the folk trio she was a member of - Peter, Paul and Mary - would find a venue that was unusable due to storm damage. I had managed to get 3rd row seats for the performance - and for a 2nd year apprentice, they cost a king's ransom. It was one of the best night's entertainments I've ever enjoyed. As for the storm itself, I have to confess that I slept through it as well, only finding out about it - like everyone else - after the event.
7th Dec 2009, 01:48am
I also slept through the storm and was surprised that my husband did not waken me up as he left very early in th ermorning to go to work. So I was puzzled at to why there were roof slate's lying about everywhere until a neighbour told me about the storm.
I couldn't believe it when I saw our garden fence completed flattened. The fence was lying on the pavement and a neighbour helped me move it into the garden in case someone fell over it.
It was terrible when the news came out that some people had been killed.
I remember afterwards seeing all the tarpaulins on the roofs, they seemed to be there forever. There were that many damaged roofs it took a long time to get them repaired.
28th Feb 2010, 12:25am
Wooosh, jist as ye thought it was safe!
Get yer auld tarps oot, there a big hoolie on the way. Cover up yer mirrors and get granny hidden in the press.
<pst> that will got em goin'
Hurricane Rabbie....over and oot.
30th Jun 2011, 06:47pm
I am emailing from a production company (www.loveproductions.co.uk) - we are making a brand new prime time series and are looking to speak to people based in the UK who remember the storm? Is there anyone who does and can contact me please? My office number is 020 7067 4873.
I look forward to perhaps hearing,
Many thanks in advance,
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